National Award winner and pioneer of Assamese cinema, Jahnu Barua’s latest offering Bandhun is about how mindless violence impacts simple lives. He is also known for his Hindi film, Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara
100 years of Indian cinema...have we really made the cut?
Celebrating the centenary is a great tribute to the pioneers of Indian cinema like Phalke, Master Vinayak, Bhalji Pendharkar, Debaki Bose, Jyoti Prasad Agarwala. But though we produce the largest number of films in the world, we have lost our identity.
Have Indian films been able to influence contemporary social discourse?
Cinema is like the nuclear power. If put to proper use it can greatly help society, but if misused it can destroy many minds.
What is the heritage of cinema from northeast India in general and Assam in particular?
Northeast cinema, Assamese cinema in particular, is indebted to Jyoti Prasad Agarwala. He made Joymoti in 1934 with no infrastructure whatsoever. As a filmmaker, I and the next generation, feel immensely inspired by this attitude.
Is there a separate genre for cinema from the northeast?
There would be such a tendency given the history of political upheavals in the region. But film-makers tend to shy away from politics while choosing subjects though Manipuri cinema has dealt with it in some way.
Which is your favourite film?
I love Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story for its simplicity. As for my past films, I see a lot of flaws. I feel I am growing every moment as a student of cinema. Two of my films Halodhia Chraye Baodhan Khai and Hkhagoroloi Bohu Door carry the general sensibility of rural India. I feel happy about it.